The Best Things to Do in Anchorage, Alaska!

Alaska is currently enjoying some national attention. And the heart of it is exactly where Anchorage is. Alaska has emerged as one of the most popular summer travel destinations as mainlanders stick closer to home but flock to the great outdoors. More aircraft are landing in Alaskan cities including Fairbanks (FAI), Anchorage (ANC), and others than ever before. Alaskan flights are more affordable than ever, but the cost of renting a car is still a problem.

It will be easy for you to find things to do once you get there. Alaska is a very unique place to visit, offering activities like hiking, kayaking, train excursions, boat tours, and seeing bears and whales. Our best recommendations and activities in Anchorage are listed here.

The Best Way to Travel to Anchorage

During regular times, round-trip airfare to Anchorage or other parts of Alaska would cost you at least $6,000. But things are not like this anymore. Service into Anchorage (ANC) is provided by Alaska, American, Delta, and United, and additional flights have been announced (against fierce competition) for the summer and fall of 2021. This has led to a plethora of fares that are half-price or less. There have been flights from major and minor airports around the country to Anchorage for less than $300.

Hiring a Car in Anchorage

A lack of rental cars has made renting an automobile in the United States exceedingly difficult and costly. And Alaska as a whole may have the worst manifestation of this issue. Get a better rental car deal for your trip to Anchorage by using the following advice.

Start Early with a Few Rental Website Searches

Always look through Priceline, Kayak, Hotwire, and other online travel agents in addition to directly looking through rental companies like National, Hertz, and Avis. Depending on where you search, prices can differ significantly. As a result, before making a rental car reservation, always examine the websites of at least three travel agencies. Above all, begin looking for a rental car as soon as you can. The next step for any trip to Anchorage should be looking for a rental car, even though we always advise booking tickets first.

Use Autoslash

Though less well-known, Autoslash is a search engine for rental cars that ought to be used more often. In addition to tracking your reservation after you book and rebooking if the rate reduces, it locates the greatest coupons for your rental! Have you made a reservation on another website already? Not a concern! If the price reduces, you can track your current rental by entering it. Simply rebook when it happens to keep the savings!

Look at Turo as an Option

Turo is for cars, and Airbnb is for residences. On the Turo platform, automobile owners list their vehicles for rent; users in need of a car can then rent from these owners. Avoid standing in line and paying excessive prices at the airport’s vehicle rental kiosks. Choose the kind of car you want, the dates you need it, and the features and amenities you want with the Turo website and mobile app.

Using a U-Haul

Indeed, in a genuine sense. Look through U-Haul if everything else fails. Vans and pickup trucks are offered for very affordable daily rates at many U-Haul stores across the country. If rental cars aren’t accessible, picking up a U-Haul has become a typical solution in Alaska and around the United States, so trust us—you won’t be alone.

Can’t See a Vehicle Anywhere?

Don’t cancel the trip entirely if you can’t find a car. Be imaginative! You can manage without a rental car in Anchorage, but in other Alaskan communities, it can be necessary. To be able to stroll to eateries and coffee shops, stay in downtown Anchorage. To get around Anchorage, take an Uber or a taxi. Bike rentals are also available in Anchorage’s downtown. To join a boat or bus excursion directly in the area, take the train to Seward or Denali. If you have other things on your itinerary, look into tours that include transportation from your accommodation.

Go to the Anchorage Alaska Zoo

For both adults and children, the Alaska Zoo is a fantastic location. The zoo offers up-close animal experiences, excursions behind the scenes, and live music on certain Saturdays in addition to its amazing collection of animals. Adult admission is $17, while children (3–17 years old) pay $10. Advice: Not renting a car? The Zoo also provides a free summertime shuttle service from downtown Anchorage (donations welcome).

Tony Knowles Coastal Path

The 11-mile Tony Knowles Coastal Trail travels around the coast from Kincaid Park to downtown Anchorage. Bicyclists, rollerbladers, hikers, and even cross-country skiers in the winter all love this trail. From beginning to end, the bike or walk along the trail offers breathtaking vistas of Denali, the potential to see moose and Beluga whales off the coast, and an abundance of wildlife as you pass through forested sections. Whether you need a bike for a few hours or the entire day, downtown Anchorage has a few locations where you may hire one. The length of time and type of bike you rent will affect the price.

Anchorage Botanical Gardens

Looking for things to do in Anchorage? The botanical garden is a great place to spend an hour or two. A mile-long route winds through the woods, and there are a few outdoor gardens featuring native flowers and plants.

You can also participate in crafts like cement leaf casting or classes about health and fitness. They provide summertime picnics in the garden, where you can enjoy a catered meal after the gardens are closed to the general public. Adult tickets are $12, while children 7–17 pay $8, and children 6 and under are free.

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Situated around one hour from the heart of Anchorage, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is an open-air animal refuge committed to conserving the city’s fauna via research and teaching. The animals in the refuge are either incapable of surviving in the wild on their own, or they have suffered lifelong injuries or are orphans.

Adult tickets are $17, while children aged 7 to 17 pay $13. Children under the age of six enter free of charge. You can walk or drive around the park’s 1 1/2-mile loop. Restrooms, a food truck serving hotdogs and munchies, and a gift store are all present.

Take the Alyeska Arial Tram For Fantastic Views

Although the Alyeska Resort is a popular ski resort in the region, visiting there in the summer is still a lot of fun. In the off-season, you can take the tram up the mountain to enjoy the best views of Girdwood Valley and food or drink at the ski lodge.

The tram operates daily, with prices starting at $35 for adults, $25 for students aged 13 to 18, $18 for children aged 6 to 12, and free for children under five. While it’s not possible to purchase tickets online in advance, it is simple to stroll up and purchase them during business hours.

Whittier, Alaska: Lunch or Dinner

There is not much in between and not many places to stop for food when traveling from Anchorage to nearby attractions like the Wildlife Conservation Center, Portage Glacier, or Alyeska Arial Tram. Whittier is hence an ideal stopping point.

Only 20 minutes west of Portage Glacier, Whittier is a lively town with a few dining options that sits on the western coast of Prince William Sound. A fantastic place to have lunch or dinner is The Inn at Whittier. Take in the stunning harbor vista while dining on king crab, chowder, or fish and chips.

From Anchorage, Take a Day Trip to Seward

From Anchorage, a day trip to Seward is ideal. Situated on the Gulf of Alaska, Seward is approximately two hours and thirty minutes away by car from Anchorage; alternatively, you can take the picturesque train excursion down. Great vistas and food and drinks are included, but the ride is twice as long and tickets start at about $100. Also, nobody is confined to the driver’s seat! Fishing, kayaking, and fjord boat cruises are all popular from this starting point. While out on the water, there is an abundance of animals to observe, such as seals, whales, and puffins.

Tours of the Kenai Fjords

Many firms offer boat tours of the Ara, but Kenai Fjords Boat Tours is one of the most well-liked choices. There’s also no shortage of options when it comes to tours, from four-hour tours to eight-hour tours and a variety of adventures to pick from. There are fantastic possibilities for a shorter boat ride, even if you’re only in Seward for the day.

For $153 per adult, we opted for a six-hour national parks tour that included lunch. You can buy beer, wine, soft drinks, and snacks on board as well. It will get cold on the boat, regardless of how lovely and sunny it is in Seward. Bring a cap and lots of additional layers.

Seward, Alaska: Seals

We boated to several locations, including a glacier, for a large portion of the day. We saw seals, puffins, a bear on the beach, a sea otter, orcas, and humpback whales, among many other species. Thrifty Tip: Before the trip begins, take Dramamine or another motion sickness medicine if you are prone to motion sickness of any kind. Though it won’t start working right away, you can purchase some onboard.

Places to Eat in Anchorage

Brewpubs, seafood eateries, pizza places, taco shops, and more can be found in Anchorage, making it a destination for many kinds of people. However, during a recent trip to Anchorage, a few locations caught our attention.

With sandwiches, fresh seafood, pizza, and more, 49th State Brewing Co.’s cuisine is sure to suit everyone in your group. Furthermore, there is room for big groups in this spacious restaurant. Taste their beer or one of their handcrafted drinks. There’s a fantastic rooftop patio, especially in the summer.

A well-liked eatery renowned for its gourmet pizzas is Moose’s Tooth Pub and Pizzeria. There may be a delay if you come here. Although this enormous restaurant is constantly full, the wait is well worth it. Even the little pizzas have remarkably big amounts. Think about sharing unless you want to pack leftovers for your family.

The food at Glacier Brewhouse is pricier and the establishment is slightly more sophisticated than 49th State Brewing Co. However, the fish is excellent here, and their seafood chowder is among the best in the area. Reservations are advised, particularly if there are more people in your party. A recently opened little taco shop called El Jefe Taco Joint serves street-style tacos. This makes a fantastic, simple supper if you’re tired of pizza and breweries.

Can You Travel from Anchorage to Denali?

With good reason, Denali National Park is a well-liked travel destination in Alaska. A far better place to start if you want to visit Denali is via plane into Fairbanks (FAI). It is still feasible to get there from Anchorage, though: it takes around four hours by car or six hours by train. But if visiting Denali is on your itinerary, you should budget for an overnight stay. You must reserve a bus excursion if you want to view the park. Since excursions fill up fast, make sure to make your reservation well in advance.

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